By Baxter Black
Steps along the cowboy trail:
Step 1: Some cowboys are born and raised on a ranch; they grow up riding and working cows, they compete in high school rodeo, have a horse and an FFA project. They develop the art of hangin’ out and lookin’ cool, which is easier if you’re a big fish in a small pond. They begin thinking, “I really am as good as they say I am!”
Step 2: Dad and Mom want him to go to college upon high school graduation. But he’s got the rodeo fever. He doesn’t need college. He’s pairing up with a buddy who’s in love with roping but doesn’t have a trailer … or a horse! But they’re a team. They get their picture in the Super Looper that first summer. The bug just gets stronger. The second year they get in the top 20 of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association. But their gasoline and beer expenses play havoc with their finances until…
Step 3: The heeler attracts the attention of an equine veterinarian with a three-horse slant, roping arena, vet clinic and seven horses. They fall in love. He takes care of the rancho, she brings home the bacon. He gets someone to clean the stalls, feed, and shoe. He invites his friends over to rope. The relationship eventually is discontinued by her. He never does know why.
Step 4: He’s always felt he had a good way with horses, so he moves in with a trader who pays him to ride green horses. This only lasts three months but it’s enough, in his mind, to hang out this shingle and become a horse whispering clinician!
Step 5: He develops a technique he patents as the “Lead Foot to Light Bulb” equine directional method. It involves wiring Christmas lights to the horses’ feet, connected to a battery on the saddle. Using a remote control from an X-Box, horses are taught to turn the direction of the blinking light on their feet. This works until one of the wires shorts out!
Step 6: After six weeks in the hospital where he has lots and lots of time to think, he plots a course that leads him to horseshoeing school (too hard), auctioneer’s school (he couldn’t understand a word they were saying!), real estate school (too much math), and seminary (a mistake).
Eventually he finds himself experienced and learned in many ways, but unable to support himself without actually getting a job.
Finally he stumbles into a group of decorative cowboys who sit around, drink coffee and expound at great length on the wonders of cowboydom, and occasionally get paid for it!
He has found Nirvana. He signs up to be a cowboy poet the rest of his life!
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: